The 1971 Pulitzer Decision

The year 1971 was another year in which no Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded. The three novels the Pulitzer Jury put forth for consideration to the Pulitzer Advisory Board were: Losing Battles by Eudora Welty -a novel that takes place over two days on a Mississippi farm; Mr. Sammler’s Planet by Saul Bellow -a novel about a holocaust survivor adjusting to modern life; and The Wheel of Love by Joyce Carol Oates -her third short story collection. The Board rejected all three and opted for no award. Their decision was upheld by the Trustees of Columbia University.

After being snubbed twice (for The Adventures of Augie March in 1954, and Mr. Sammler’s Planet in 1971), Saul Bellow finally won the Pulitzer in 1976 for Humboldt’s Gift. Additionally, after being denied in 1971, Eudora Welty won the Pulitzer in 1973 for The Optimist’s Daughter.

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